Yoga practice takes many forms in Auburn

Stretch, laugh your way to better health
By: Krissi Khokhobashvili, Journal Features Editor
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There are many places in the Auburn area where the ancient practice of yoga is used in traditional and nontraditional ways to help people get in touch with their minds and bodies. Several even offer practice for free or by donation.


Laughter yoga

Twice a month, the sounds of laughter fill the room at Sierra Foothill Unitarian Universalists in Auburn.

Kathleen Hering, a registered nurse practitioner, is a “laughter yoga” instructor. The practice was started in 1995 by Dr. Madan Kataria in India, who saw the benefits of laughter on both the mind and body.

“It encourages you to move, it encourages you to connect both with yourself and other people,” Hering said. “That laughter encourages your spirit to be uplifted.”

While you won’t find yoga mats or extremely flexible people doing static poses in a session, laughter yoga is still a yogic practice, Hering said. That’s because a key part of it is yogic breathing. 

“It’s a mood elevator because it helps increase your endorphins,” Hering said. “It’s actually an aerobic workout. Twenty minutes of laughter yoga is equivalent to 20 minutes of running around.”

Sessions start with participants sitting in a circle and throwing soft objects at each other – a practice that gets the whole group giggling. Hering then leads the group through warmups and role-playing activities. Sessions end with guided meditation and sending laughter out to the world.

Greenwood resident Ann O’Quinn said she felt rejuvenated after attending her first laughter yoga session.

“I had a lot of fun,” O’Quinn said. “I really felt at the end like all my internal organs had been massaged and like my body was vibrating.”

While the laughter exercises may seem silly, Hering said, she advises participants to “fake it till you make it.” Real and forced laughter have the same benefits, she said.

“Kids laugh maybe 400 times a day,” Hering said. “Adults, if we laugh 15, we’re doing really well.”


Karma yoga

Karen Barbarick has been teaching yoga for years, both in the corporate world and at studios and gyms. She is the owner of Dreamtime Yoga, based in her Applegate home. A believer in the meaning of the Sanskrit words “sava,” service, and “dona,” a donation, she periodically offers “karma yoga” sessions by donation or for free.

Barbarick’s yoga school certifies teachers with the Yoga Alliance, whose standards require a certain amount of karma yoga. Her instructors have all completed their karma yoga requirements, so their free classes are offered completely in “sava,” in service.

The classes vary based on the instructor and include vinyasa yoga, a vigorous flow of energy, and hatha, an athletic yoga that focuses on opening the body’s central column. Barbarick teaches kundalini yoga, intention-based yoga focused on specific outcomes.

“There’s a technique to reduce stress, there’s a technique to embrace prosperity, there’s a technique to have more joy in your life,” she said.

People of all yoga experience levels are welcome.

When thinking about what she wants her students to take away from karma yoga, Barbarick said, “a stronger sense of themselves. A sense of belonging, purpose, joy, enthusiasm for life and for yoga, and for the deeper mysteries of life.”

Reach Krissi Khokhobashvili at Follow her on Twitter, @AuburnJournalAE.



Know and go

Laughter Yoga

When: 9:30-10:30 a.m. second and fourth Thursdays

Where: Sierra Foothill Unitarian Universalists, 190 Finley St., Auburn

Cost: Sliding-scale donation

Info: (530) 210-9886,


Karma Yoga

Where: Dreamtime Yoga, Applegate

When: 9:45 a.m. Wednesday, April 18, and Thursday, April 19

Cost: Free

Info: Call (530) 305-7337 for directions and to sign up, or visit


Hot-85 Flow Yoga

What: Yoga in a heated room to aid in movement, depth of posture and concentration. 

When: 5:30 p.m. Monday, April 16

Where: Auburn Yoga & Fitness, 1175 Grass Valley Highway, Auburn

Cost: Free

Info: (530) 889-2920,